Points Tally: 4 / 9 points (1 / 3 points in the Europa League Group Stages, Fourth Round of Capital One Cup)
September began very poorly with an extremely lacklustre display at Old Trafford, with Christian Benteke’s Goal of the Season contender the only highlight of that game. Danny Ings struggled as he was deployed on the left flank, while Liverpool’s midfielders just didn’t seem up for the game against the old rivals. A decent point away to Bordeaux with half-a-first-team was followed by a disappointing point at home to Norwich, where again Liverpool’s inability to defend set-pieces and finish off chances saw them drop valuable points.
Another show of poor finishing, again at home, this time to League Two side Carlisle United meant the Reds had to suffer the indignity of extra-time and penalties against lower league opposition – many thanks to the penalty heroics of reserve keeper Adam Bogdan. With Brendan Rodgers’ job under threat, the Reds managed to secure three points at home to Aston Villa. Despite conceding two goals, Rodgers’ men at least managed to score more than one goal in a single game, with some deadly finishing from Daniel Sturridge likely to bring some hope to Liverpool fans and manager alike.
Player of the Month – Danny Ings (average rating: 6.4)
With Sturridge stealing the plaudits in the last game of September, it was his stand-in and current strike partner which deserves much credit for his work in the past month. Despite a poor start against United, where he just could not influence the game stationed on the wing, Ings started coming into his own when given the opportunity off the bench against Bordeaux.
ings: impressed so far with his superb work ethic and decent eye for goal
The Englishman’s half-time introduction for the injury-stricken Benteke allowed Ings to show off his class in front of his own fans, as he worked hard all through the second half and took his first Liverpool goal well after being put through by Alberto Moreno. Another goal followed, this time in the Capital One Cup against Carlisle, when he was in the right place at the right time to head home Adam Lallana’s cross. Ings may not have scored in the Villa game, but his overall work-rate and willingness to run in behind opposition defenders will have pleased Rodgers. His movement and potential link-up play with Sturridge will be vital for Rodgers as he seeks to increase his side’s goal threat.
Flop of the Month – Divock Origi (4.3)
Whereas one new forward signing has made a bright start to life at Anfield, another returning forward is struggling to make any sort of impact. Divock Origi may have been on the books since last season, but he has so far failed to live up to any sort of expectation. Having played no part in August, Origi saw his first action at Old Trafford. In all fairness, that Liverpool side was never going to get going and Origi had little to work on.
However, handed a start against Bordeaux, Origi struggled to breakdown the French side’s defence and failed to work their goalkeeper. He couldn’t combine with Coutinho and Lallana at all, and was eventually taken off. Coming on as a sub against Carlisle, Origi had little improvement either. The young Belgian will have to find some way to up his game or risk being left off the match day squad once his countryman Benteke returns from injury.
An early highlight of the month was Jordan Rossiter’s European debut in France. He gave a very composed display and one that will please the fans, as the young Englishman could potentially play in place of Lucas when required. It was telling that Bordeaux’s equaliser came after Rossiter was taken off due to severe fatigue, and the academy graduate can only be hearten by his superb display.
welcome improve of form from the young spaniard
Another somewhat pleasant surprise has been Alberto Moreno’s recent impressive displays. Since being restored to the line-up as Rodgers return to a 3-4-2-1 formation, the Spanish wing-back seems to have been given more license to bomb forward, and so far it has been working. Moreno has utilised his pace well going forward, bringing more threat on the flanks and giving Liverpool more width. His crossing still leaves much to be desired, but in general, the last month has seen the Spaniard play the best football since his arrival last summer. Seems like leaving him out for young Joe Gomez has worked a treat for Moreno and Rodgers.
Ask most Liverpool fans on their best highlight of September and it would no doubt be the return of Daniel Sturridge to fitness and form. After one half against Norwich whereby he missed a couple of good chances, Sturridge proved the match winner against Villa, netting two superb strikes, one with his left and the other with his weaker right foot, to eventually seal a narrow 3-2 win for the Reds. Sturridge has started to look sharper and if he remains fit, will only improve in October. This will be key as a difficult run of fixtures await, and Rodgers will be banking on his main man for the goals next month.
Areas of Improvement:
As usual, the main area of improve is in defence. Granted at Old Trafford, the Reds got undone by Anthony Martial’s sublime skill and a training ground set-piece scored by Daley Blind, both they could do little about. However, the goals conceded against Bordeaux, Norwich, Carlisle and Villa could be stopped had it been for better defending. As mentioned, Norwich’s goal from a corner could have been stopped had Simon Mignolet managed to punch clear or had someone picked up Russell Martin. Against Carlisle, what Dejan Lovren was doing baffles all.
no one got close to martin during the set-piece
The two goals from Villa’s Rudy Gestede was due to Emre Can’s lapse of concentration and Mamadou Sakho’s lack of fight in the air. Rodgers needs to sort out this three men defence, maybe even considering drafting in centre-back Gomez in place of Can during the bigger games. Shutting the door during set-pieces would significantly help Rodgers in his bid to save his job.
The manner of the defeat to United was very disappointing, while the poor finishing which cost two points against Norwich is one the Reds could regret upon come end of the season. Though Rodgers side finally won in the league against Villa, it was not wholly convincing, and the display against Carlisle is also worrying. September is proving a month to forget after a decent start in August, and fans can only hope October is a brighter month.